Yesterday we got up very early and drove to Ottawa again, for another meeting. This time the landscape was dusted with snow that decided to stick, and in places a thin layer of fog, or possibly smoke from woodstoves, hovered about a foot above the ground but below the tops of the trees, giving an eerie quality to the early morning. The flat land used to feel very bleak to me, but I've come to love its starkness, especially in winter. Overhead, flocks of geese flew low, crossing from field to field, and we passed numerous signs reminding drivers, in French, English and black-on-yellow graphics, about the "night danger" posed by leaping, running deer and moose, though we didn't see a single deer during the two-and-a-half hour journey, and the bounding moose on the signs looked way more energetic than any moose I've ever seen for real. (I thought the problem with moose (and it's a big one that kills people and animals every year) is that their eyes don't shine, so at night drivers sometimes come upon one that's wandered onto the highway and is just standing there, like a small building.) We passed "Bear Brook", too, but the wildlife we saw on both legs of the journey were confined to the geese, a lone turkey, and a lot of hawks sitting in trees surveying the large china dinner-plate of a snow-covered field.
After our meeting we had lunch at the Ottawa IKEA - the smallest one I've ever been in - and then spent a happy time shopping at Lee Valley, a Canadian institution that J. has pronounced his "favorite store, ever." Like IKEA, Lee Valley was started and is still owned by a single entrepreneur. I'm just grateful we don't have our big house, garden, and garage anymore, because it would be too tempting to start filling them up with tools. This time we bought a few small Christmas presents; I bought some honing oil for my whetstone (to sharpen my block carving tools) and J. bought a slide-out tie rack that he's already installed in his closet. You can get on the mailing list and receive all their catalogs -- but I'm warning you now.
Today, by contrast, was one of those Computer Days from Hell. For some reason, the layers palette InDesign on my computer completely stopped working, so I couldn't select any objects or type that were on locked or hidden layers or master pages, and that brought my work to a complete standstill, as well as disrupting J.'s day. We ended up having to uninstall the program and completely re-install it, plus all the updates, and we had two crashes in the meantime. Things got back to normal at about 3:30 pm. All I can say for sure right now is that it's going to be a late night, and we're smiling again, though about as wanly as the near-solstice morning light in that photo above.